Our world is groaning with the sufferings of war. Entire nations are collapsing under corrupt leadership; millions of children starve while we gorge ourselves, gluttonous. Oppression – a word to describe the weight under which some women still live. Natural disasters ravish entire communities and many will never recover.
The list goes on.
If you were born in a first world country with paid work, unlimited food at your fingertips and emergency services just a phone call away, you might find it easy to look past the rest of the world’s problems. Yours is shiny and safe.
People facing economic hardship, fewer opportunities and less freedom are equally loved your Heavenly Father. Remember the less fortunate. Ask Jesus to show up in their lives.
As you continue to fast, pray for peace in the world where it’s absent. Lift up the nations both near and far. Pray for their leaders. And thank God for your many blessings.
“God holds the high centre, he sees and sets the world’s mess right. He decides what is right for us earthlings, gives people their just deserts God’s a safe-house for the battered, a sanctuary during bad times. The moment you arrive, you relax; you’re never sorry you knocked” (Psalm 9:7-10 MSG).
If you live in Australia, you love your laid back culture and your mantra when facing a problem is “no worries, mate.” BBQs, beaches and sunshine exemplify your weekend experiences and you bleed Green and Gold. Your nation is peaceful and prosperous for the most part with few world enemies.
Remember that your government is in place because God has allowed it. Recognise that no matter what’s going on in politics, which party is in power, or how much housing prices have risen, your God is in control.
He has you where he wants you and expects you to be a good citizen. He loves engaging with your prayers. As you lift up your country today, ask Jesus to bless your elected officials. Ask him to bring peace to your nation and to allow wisdom from above to guide its decisions. Don’t lose sight of your role nor the power of your God. Ask for Christ to be revealed throughout your nation.
And, no matter what the landscape of your life looks like as it relates to your culture and position in your country, learn to embrace it fully and to be content.
“Actually, I don’t have a sense of needing anything personally. I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am” (Philippians 4:12-13).
You’re approaching the end of your three weeks of prayer and fasting and your prayer life has intensified. You are freer than you were a few weeks ago and you’re looking beyond your own needs and asking God to work in your family, your workplace, your church and your neighbourhood.
You actually have the ability to change your entire city. A small group of disciples who walked with Jesus a couple of centuries ago sure did! They carried a message of hope to their cities; subsequently, much of the Western world built its culture on Judeo-Christian values. Imagine you and your group of friends from church who have a passion for your community changing and influencing your city. You CAN!
Why don’t you take some time today and pray for your city? Love your suburb. Lift up its leaders and ask God to bless them and guide them. Believe God will open doors of influence and opportunity for you to speak into the lives of your city councilmen and women and elected officials. You have a voice in your community.
Over time, your care and influence will impact those around you and spill over into every area of your community. Through loving it well, you can affect change.
“Seek peace and well-being for the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf; for in its peace (well-being) you will have peace” (Jeremiah 29:7 AMP).
If you read the news, you’ll see consistent coverage of polarizing topics and conversations that divide. Politics, government spending, inequality in the workplace, global warming, immigration. Everyone seems to have a strong opinion and divisiveness is the status quo. Marching, arguing, hating.
The thing is, you have more in common with your neighbour than you have differences.
If you’ve ever traveled to another country and spent time people-watching, you know a mother’s love is universal. Laughter in a movie theatre or adoration for a sunset alongside strangers transcends which suburb you grew up in or what sort of car you drive.
Stand in line at a water park with thousands of other guests and you’ll see that stretch marks don’t discriminate. Shade cover is ubiquitously desired and over-priced burgers taste good after a long swim in sunshine. Everyone agrees.
Can you spend some time today focussing on what you have in common with your neighbours, rather than your differences? Pray you will be able to extend grace to those you might disagree with and smile despite your disparity.
Prayer opens your heart and eyes to the need around you. The Holy Spirit will show you how to bless those across the road and serve your neighbours, no strings attached. Meeting people where they are will diminish your differences and allow God to make his way onto your street and into your hearts. Love lessons the gap between us and that’s something everyone can admit is more fun than fighting.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35 NIV).
For most of you, your work is a major part of your day. Sadly, more than half of Aussies hate their jobs but you do it for the pay check. You have difficult colleagues and supervisors. You travel and miss time with your families. You don’t earn as much as you think you’re worth. You haven’t received a raise. You might own your own business and the constant weight feels like chains around your wrists. You may be juggling more than one job; you’re under a lot of pressure.
Whatever your situation, it’s important to have a proper perspective around your work.
Spend time praying God will guide you to the job he has for you in this season. Talk to the Lord about the hard parts and thank him for the easy ones. Ask Jesus to show you what you’re supposed to be learning each day at work.
Pray for your boss. Pray for your co-workers. See your workplace as a ministry opportunity every time you go there… you represent Christ and can impact his Kingdom through whatever earns you a living.
“Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail” (Isaiah 58:9-11 NIV).
Who comes to mind when you think, “bold” or “courageous?” An Army ranger going into battle or an astronaut into space? Maybe a single mum or someone battling cancer?
What about your Pastor?
Today, pray for your spiritual leaders. All of hell wants to come against the work they do. They live in a glass house with everyone watching how they act, what they say, what they buy, and how their kids are turning out.
They often balance administrating finances and budgets with seeking God for a word for the next sermon. They juggle a desire to meet everyone’s needs with the pressing obligations of their own families.
Pastors and leaders in churches all over the world have given their lives up in service to others. They love what they do and are passionate about the Kingdom. They pray for you constantly and love until their hearts break. They seek God continually and desire to reflect and represent him well.
Knowing you’re behind them with your own dispatch to heaven will shore them up. Your encouragement and belief in them will continue to make them brave as they go into battle. When you pray for them, you’re praying for your own spiritual covering and blessing as you reap the fruit of their labour in your church and ministry alongside them.
“Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to appreciate those who diligently work among you [recognise, acknowledge, and respect your leaders], who are in charge over you in the Lord and who give you instruction, and [we ask that you appreciate them and] hold them in the highest esteem in love because of their work [on your behalf]. Live in peace with one another” (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 AMP).
Have you ever been annoyed with little children? Maybe they’re your own, throwing a tantrum in the shops over a lollypop while you’re trying to buy groceries? Or perhaps someone else’s little darling is making noise in church and you just need her to shush so you can concentrate? The chaos of youngsters can be a bit much. Kids definitely bring energy and volume to a room!
Children also carry a faith unlike your own.
The world hasn’t jaded them. Their tender souls cry out for God’s blessing and presence. Children see the world with wide eyes and wonder. They believe in the miraculous and move in the moment, embracing everything around them without fear or hatred. Kids dream big and hug you hard. They laugh loudly and cry easily.
What reckless abandon!
Jesus loves children:
“The people brought children to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus was irate and let them know it: “Don’t push these children away. Don’t ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom. Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in.” Then, gathering the children up in his arms, he laid his hands of blessing on them” (Mark 10:13-16).
Parents, you must lead your kids to Christ, for he wants to bless them. Pray for your precious ones today and model a life of surrender so they will chase after God, fully submitted to his lordship too.
If you’re not a parent, don’t get in the way of children having an encounter with Jesus. Look them in the eyes, say something kind, and believe God’s best for them, shining the light of Christ. Lift the young ones in your world up to him in prayer today.
And, pray for yourself… that you can grab hold of a child-like faith, one that embraces its simplicity and allows Jesus to lay hold of you and pour out a blessing.
“What marvellous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are” (1 John 3:1a MSG).